Why Does My Hip Hurt When I Walk?

Have you ever taken a simple stroll in the park, only to be stopped in your tracks by a sudden, sharp pain in your hip?

If so, you’re not alone. Hip pain when walking is a common issue that affects many people worldwide. But what causes it? And more importantly, how can you alleviate it?

In this article, we’ll delve into the answers to these questions and more, providing you with a comprehensive guide to understanding and managing hip pain when walking.

Key Facts

  • Hip pain when walking can be caused by various factors, including arthritis, injuries, nerve issues, and alignment problems.
  • The location and type of your hip pain can provide valuable clues about the underlying cause.
  • Treatment options range from lifestyle changes and physical therapy to medication and, in some cases, surgery.
  • Prevention is key: proper footwear, warm-up exercises, and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent hip pain.
  • Always seek professional help if you’re experiencing persistent hip pain when walking.

As we continue, we’ll explore these points in more detail, discussing the common causes of hip pain, how to identify them, and the various treatment options available.

We’ll also provide helpful tips on how to prevent hip pain when walking.

So, whether you’re a long-time sufferer of hip pain or you’ve just started experiencing discomfort, read on.

This article is here to provide you with the information and reassurance you need.

Understanding Hip Pain

Hip pain is more than just a simple discomfort. It’s a signal from your body, a cry for help when something isn’t quite right.

The hip joint is a marvel of engineering, designed to withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear.

It’s one of the largest joints in the body, and it plays a crucial role in helping us perform everyday activities like walking, running, and even sitting.

So, when pain strikes, it’s essential to pay attention.

The Anatomy of Hip Pain

To understand hip pain, it’s helpful to know a bit about the anatomy of the hip joint.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, with the ball at the top of your thigh bone (femur) fitting into a socket in your pelvis.

The hip - diagram

This joint is surrounded by various structures that can contribute to hip pain.

It allows for a wide range of motion. 

It’s made up of:

  • The femur (thigh bone), which ends in a round ball (femoral head)
  • The acetabulum, a socket in the pelvis where the femoral head fits
  • Ligaments, which connect the bones and provide stability
  • Tendons, which attach muscles to bones
  • Cartilage, which cushions the joint and allows for smooth movement

When any of these components are damaged or inflamed, it can result in hip pain.

Hip Flexor and Groin

The hip flexor is a group of muscles in the front of the hip that help lift your knee and bend at the waist. Overuse of these muscles can lead to a hip flexor strain, causing pain in the front of the hip.

The groin, located on the inner side of the hip, can also be a source of pain, especially if there’s a strain or tear in the muscles.

Hip flexors

Buttock and Bursa

The buttock houses the large gluteal muscles that support the hip and thigh. Pain in this area can often be traced back to issues with these muscles.

The bursa, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints, are found in several areas around your hip. Inflammation of the bursa (bursitis) can cause hip pain, particularly on the outside of the hip.

Hip Arthritis and Overuse

Hip arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, is a common cause of pain in the hip socket and surrounding the hip joint.

Overuse from repetitive activities can also lead to hip pain, as it puts continuous strain on the muscles, tendons, and joints in the hip area.

Symptoms of Hip Pain

Hip pain can manifest in various ways, and the type of pain can often give clues about its cause.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Sharp, stabbing pain
  • Dull, aching discomfort
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Difficulty walking or moving the hip
  • Swelling or tenderness around the hip joint

Remember, hip pain is not something to ignore. If you’re experiencing persistent pain, especially when walking, it’s important to seek professional help.

In the next section, we’ll explore the common causes of hip pain when walking and how to identify them.

Common Causes of Hip Pain When Walking

Now that we’ve covered the basics of hip pain, let’s delve into the common causes. Understanding the root of your discomfort is the first step towards finding relief.

There are many possible causes of hip pain when walking, from issues inside of the hip joint to problems with the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint.

hip pain when walking - illustration

Pain can be felt across the entire hip and may radiate from the lateral hip to the top of the thigh, from the outside of the hip to the buttock, or from the front of the hip around to the groin.

Understanding the common causes of hip pain when walking can help you identify potential issues and seek appropriate treatment.

The chart below represents the most common causes of hip pain when walking, based on the percentage of cases reported in various medical studies.

Common Causes of Hip Pain When Walking

For those who prefer or need a text-based description of the chart, here’s the data in an accessible format:

  • Arthritis: 30% of cases
  • Injury: 25% of cases
  • Nerve Issues: 20% of cases
  • Alignment Issues: 25% of cases

This data underscores the complexity of hip pain and the importance of seeking professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.


Arthritis is one of the most common causes of hip pain. There are several types of arthritis that can affect the hip joint:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage that cushions your hip bones wears away. The bones then rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, leading to inflammation and pain.

Injuries and Damage

Injuries to the hip joint can occur in various ways, such as sports injuries or accidents.

Common injuries include:

  • Hip Fractures: These are common in older adults, especially those with osteoporosis.
  • Hip Labral Tear: This is a tear in the ring of cartilage (labrum) that follows the outside rim of your hip joint socket.
hip joint issues - illustration

Nerve Issues

Sometimes, the problem isn’t with the hip joint itself but with the nerves that provide sensation to the hips. Conditions like sciatica or hip bursitis can cause pain in the hip and leg.

Alignment Issues

Alignment issues, such as hip dysplasia or certain types of spinal deformities, can also lead to hip pain when walking.

Each of these causes has different treatment options, which we’ll explore in the following sections. But remember, self-diagnosis can be risky.

If you’re experiencing hip pain, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can accurately diagnose the cause and guide you towards the right treatment.

How to Identify the Cause of Your Hip Pain

Identifying the cause of your hip pain is a crucial step towards finding the right treatment. But how can you tell what’s causing your discomfort?

Here are some tips.

Listen to Your Body

Your body has its own way of communicating with you. Pay attention to when and where you feel pain. Is it constant or does it come and go?

Does it worsen with certain activities or at specific times of the day? The answers to these questions can provide valuable clues.

Consider the Type of Pain

The type of pain you’re experiencing can also hint at the underlying cause. For instance:

  • A sharp, stabbing pain could indicate an injury or damage.
  • A dull, aching pain might suggest a chronic condition like arthritis.
  • Pain that radiates down your leg could be a sign of nerve issues.

Seek Professional Help

While these tips can help you understand your pain better, they’re no substitute for professional medical advice. If you’re experiencing persistent hip pain, especially when walking, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional.

Doctors - illustration

They can conduct a thorough examination, order necessary tests, and accurately diagnose the cause of your pain.

In the next section, we’ll explore the various treatment options for hip pain when walking. The best treatment for you will depend on the cause of your pain, your overall health, and your personal preferences.

Treatment Options for Hip Pain When Walking

Once you’ve identified the cause of your hip pain, the next step is finding the right treatment. There’s a wide range of options available, and the best one for you will depend on your specific diagnosis, the severity of your pain, and your overall health.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Many cases of hip pain can be managed effectively without surgery. Here are some non-surgical treatment options:

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises to improve flexibility, strength, and balance, which can help alleviate hip pain.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage pain and inflammation. In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and practicing good posture can all help reduce strain on your hips.

Surgical Treatments

In some cases, surgery may be the best option to treat hip pain. This is typically considered when non-surgical treatments haven’t provided sufficient relief or when the hip joint is significantly damaged.

Surgical options include:

  • Hip Arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to view and treat problems inside the hip joint.
  • Hip Resurfacing or Replacement: These procedures involve replacing damaged parts of the hip joint with artificial components.

Alternative Therapies

Some people find relief from hip pain through alternative therapies, such as:

  • Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to relieve pain.
  • Massage Therapy: This can help relax tight muscles, improve circulation, and reduce pain.

Remember, it’s important to discuss all treatment options with your healthcare provider to determine the best approach for your specific situation.

In the next section, we’ll provide some tips on how to prevent hip pain when walking.

Prevention is always better than cure, and with the right strategies, you can keep your hips healthy and pain-free.

Prevention Tips

While it’s crucial to address hip pain when it occurs, prevention is always the best medicine. Here are some practical tips to help you maintain healthy hips and prevent pain when walking:

Stay Active

Regular physical activity can help keep your hips strong and flexible. Aim for a balanced exercise routine that includes:

Wear the Right Footwear

The shoes you wear can have a significant impact on your hip health. Choose footwear that provides good support and cushioning.

If you’re a runner, make sure to replace your running shoes regularly to ensure optimal shock absorption.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Carrying extra weight can put additional strain on your hips, leading to pain over time. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help alleviate this pressure.

Practice Good Posture

Good posture can help keep your hips properly aligned, reducing the risk of pain. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving, try to keep your body aligned and avoid slouching or leaning to one side.

correcting posture - illustration showing a good and bad posture

Warm Up Before Exercise

Before you start any physical activity, take a few minutes to warm up. This can help prepare your muscles and joints for the activity and reduce the risk of injury.

Remember, these tips are general guidelines and may not be suitable for everyone. 

In the next section, we’ll wrap up our discussion and provide some final thoughts on managing hip pain when walking.


Navigating the journey of hip pain can feel overwhelming, but remember, you’re not alone.

Millions of people experience hip pain when walking, and there’s a wealth of knowledge and resources available to help you manage your discomfort and regain your mobility.

To recap, here are the key points we’ve covered:

  • Understanding Your Pain: Recognizing the symptoms and understanding the anatomy of your hip can provide valuable insights into the cause of your pain.
  • Identifying the Cause: From arthritis to injuries, nerve issues to alignment problems, there are many potential causes of hip pain when walking.
  • Exploring Treatment Options: Treatment can range from lifestyle changes and physical therapy to medication and surgery. The best approach depends on your specific diagnosis and overall health.
  • Preventing Hip Pain: Staying active, wearing the right footwear, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and warming up before exercise can all help prevent hip pain.

Remember, while this guide provides a comprehensive overview, it’s not a substitute for professional medical advice. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope it’s been helpful in your journey towards understanding and managing your hip pain.

Remember, every step you take towards better health is a step in the right direction. Keep moving forward, and don’t let hip pain slow you down.


  1. Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment – WebMD: This article provides an overview of the causes and treatment options for hip pain.
  2. Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment – Cleveland Clinic: This resource offers a comprehensive look at hip pain, including causes and treatments.
  3. Hip pain Causes – Mayo Clinic: This page provides detailed information on the various causes of hip pain.
  4. Hip pain – Mayo Clinic: This resource offers an in-depth look at hip pain, including its definition, causes, and when to see a doctor.
  5. Hip Pain: Causes, Treatments, and When to Seek Help – Healthline: This article provides a comprehensive overview of hip pain, including causes, treatments, and advice on when to seek help.

Q: Why does my hip hurt when I walk?

A: There could be several reasons why your hip hurts when you walk. It could be due to arthritis, a fracture, bursitis, a strain in the hip flexor, or other possible causes. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the exact cause of your hip pain.

Q: How can I prevent hip pain when walking?

A: To prevent hip pain when walking, it is important to maintain proper posture, warm up before exercise, wear comfortable and supportive shoes, and avoid activities that put excessive stress on the hip joint. Additionally, engaging in regular hip strengthening exercises can help reduce the risk of hip pain.

Q: What are the common causes of hip pain?

A: Hip pain can be caused by a variety of factors such as arthritis, strains in the hip flexor, fractures, bursitis, or tight hip flexors. Other possible causes include muscle or tendon issues, hip fractures, and chronic hip pain. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Q: What are some ways to reduce hip pain?

A: To reduce hip pain, you can try applying ice or heat to the affected area, taking over-the-counter pain medication, and avoiding activities that worsen the pain. Physical therapy and specific exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint may also help alleviate hip pain.

Q: Why do I feel pain on the side of my hip?

A: Pain on the side of the hip can be caused by various factors, including strains in the hip flexor, bursitis, or issues with the tensor fasciae latae muscle. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the specific cause of your hip pain on the side.

Q: How can I prevent and manage hip pain?

A: To prevent and manage hip pain, it is important to engage in regular exercise to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. Stretching the hip flexors and using proper body mechanics while walking or engaging in physical activities can also help prevent hip pain. If the pain persists, it is recommended to seek medical advice for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Q: What are some hip strengthening exercises?

A: There are several hip strengthening exercises that can help alleviate hip pain. Some examples include hip bridges, clamshells, side-lying leg raises, squats, and lunges. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified trainer to ensure proper form and technique when performing these exercises.

Q: Can tight hip flexors cause hip pain while walking?

A: Yes, tight hip flexors can contribute to hip pain while walking. When the hip flexor muscles are tight, they can pull on the pelvis and alter the alignment of the hip joint, leading to discomfort and pain. Stretching and releasing tension in the hip flexor muscles through targeted exercises and stretches may help alleviate the pain.

Q: Is hip pain a common condition?

A: Yes, hip pain is a common condition that affects individuals of all ages. It can be caused by various factors such as arthritis, strains, bursitis, or fractures. If you are experiencing hip pain, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Q: Why do I feel pain in my hip when walking?

A: Pain in the hip when walking is a common symptom that can be caused by various factors. It may be due to issues with the hip joint, muscle or tendon strains, bursitis, or even problems in other areas such as the knees. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended to determine the underlying cause of the pain and to receive appropriate treatment.